Tester slams House cut to nutrition assistance

Senator calls vote: the ‘height of irresponsibility’

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives cut nutrition assistance for low-income Americans by $40 billion. Slashing nutrition assistance will make it harder for working families, senior citizens, and other Americans to buy needed food:

“We must get our debt and deficit under control, but eliminating critical food assistance for mothers and children is the height of irresponsibility. The House of Representatives today made it clear they are more interested in cutting the legs out from working families than working hard to find a common-sense solution, and it will make it even tougher to get a five-year Farm Bill signed into law.”

Nutrition assistance, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is traditionally part of the Farm Bill. The House of Representatives separated the assistance from the rest of the Farm Bill earlier this year. Nearly 13 percent of Montanans are enrolled in the initiative, and over half of those Montana households have children.

Earlier this year, the Senate reauthorized a complete, bipartisan Farm Bill for five years, saving taxpayers $24 billion. The bill, which reduced nutrition assistance by $4 billion over 10 years, replaces direct payments to farmers with a new initiative that protects them from sudden losses and provides them with new crop insurance options.

The Senate passed a similar bipartisan Farm Bill last year, but the House of Representatives refused to vote on the bill. As a result, the current Farm Bill was extended for another year. Without action by Congress, the extension will expire at the end of September.